Kate was an absolutely adorable little bundle of energy, her smile, a burst of sunshine. I couldn’t get enough of her, except at bedtime. Bedtimes were a marathon of up and down, back and forth. She climbed like a monkey. By sixteen months, she’d mastered climbing over the rails of her crib. With no fear of falling, she’d plunge to the floor. In the interest of saving her brain, we had no choice but to put her in a twin bed. The total freedom of that bed made getting her to bed even more of a challenge, usually involving cuddling, books, quiet play, and numerous trips to put her back to bed. Most of the time, I had to lie down with her till she drifted off. As often as not, I’d be asleep first so she’d try to crawl over me to get out.
We had dinner guests one evening. I made a fruitless effort to get her to be early. It seemed to give her extra energy for her usual festivities. This particular evening, she was proud she’d learned to take her clothes off, so she stripped to the skin before emerging naked as the day she was born. I left the table four or fives times to times to dress her and put her back to bed. The admiration of the guests only strengthened her determination to show off. Bud always thought he knew a better way. The last time she showed up, ringlets bouncing and little pink butt shining, he took a stern tone. “Baby girl, if you pull your clothes off and come in here again, I’m gonna knock a knot on your head.” This would have been a first if he had laid a hand on her. He put her back in bed and said in a gruff tone, “Now, I guess she’ll stay there!”
Our conversationed resumed. I wondered resentfully why he hadn’t done that before. After a few minutes, we heard pat, pat, pat coming down the hall. A tiny girl, grinning like a bear eating briars tip-toed into the ding room. Naked as a jay bird, she wore her brother’s football helmet on her head. I guess he had made an impression.